Find out more about the procedure and the benefits.
What is male circumcision?
Male circumcision is a one-off medical procedure. It removes a fold of skin that covers the head of the penis - the foreskin. Circumcision can be carried out at any age. Circumcision may be performed for medical or religious reasons.
This fact sheet discusses voluntary medical circumcision done in a medical environment by a medical professional.
Male circumcision and HIV prevention
- The inner foreskin contains cells that HIV targets to enter the body.
- Small tears or genital ulcers on the foreskin can increase HIV risk.
- Circumcision only protects men (not women) from acquiring HIV, reducing their risk by 60%.1
- It does not reduce risk of sexual transmission of HIV onwards to a female or male partner.2
Key facts about male circumcision
Most circumcised men do not experience any effect on...
- sexual desire or satisfaction
- erectile function
- pain during sex
- size of their penis.3
Important to know before circumcision
- Do not masturbate or have sex until 6 weeks after circumcision
- Having unprotected sex before healing increases your risk of infection
- Circumcised men who are living with HIV can still transmit HIV
- Circumcision does not give 100% protection – still use condoms
- Follow the aftercare advice given by your healthcare provider
- Test regularly for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).4
The step-by-step process
- Pre-cirumcision consultation
- HIV & STI test offered
- Informed consent
- Appointment booked
- Medical procedure in medical setting
- Post-circumcision consultation
- Follow up appointments
- Refer a friend!
Female circumcision (or female genital mutilation - FGM) is a completely different procedure to male circumcision.
- It has no health benefits
- It causes extreme harm to girls and women
- It does not protect against HIV
- It is illegal in many countries.
It must not be considered as an HIV prevention initiative like male circumcision.5
Know your rights
You have the right to:
- refuse circumcision
- be circumcised by a medical professional
- be circumcised at any age.